A Public Affair is the fifth studio album by American pop singer Jessica Simpson. The album was released on August 26, 2006 in the United States by Epic Records. The album is Simpson's first effort following her divorce from Nick Lachey in early 2006.
The album was produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Cory Rooney, Scott Storch, Stargate and Lester Mendez. Simpson appears as a co-writer of nine of the thirteen songs on the album. A Public Affair received generally mixed reviews from music critics, who complimented its musical diversity from Simpson's previous albums, while also criticizing its length. The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 101,000 copies. A Public Affair has sold 500,000 units in the United States and over one million copies worldwide to date. It was the last pop album Simpson released before switching to country music.
Three singles were released from the record, the lead single, "A Public Affair" was the album's most successful single, became Simpson's sixth top-twenty single in the United States and her third song to reach number fourteen, tied with "With You" (2004) and "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (2005). The next single, "I Belong to Me", failed to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100. The third single "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" was released as a promotional single. Her version of the song barely entered the Pop 100, and failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart, however, it charted at number twenty on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100, which is equivalent to number 120. Simpson's version had new lyrics and only preserves the chorus of the song.
The UK enhanced version was released on February 12, 2007 and included the music video for "A Public Affair" and the track "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" as bonus tracks.
MTV first reported that Simpson's first album after her divorce would be released in late 2005. It was also reported that Simpson had parted ways with Columbia, and would release future albums through Epic Records.
Simpson was inspired by Janet Jackson for the album, saying "I do love singing ballads, but I took a different approach. I didn't do a big string-session type of ballad I'm used to." "I took more of a Janet Jackson approach. More of an 'Earth Angel' type of approach." Simpson contacted Jackson's main producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to produce several songs on the album.
With only a month to go until the release of A Public Affair, Simpson switched the cover photo of the album. The first cover art for the album surfaced showing a sultry Simpson with her hair down, sporting a dress with the straps pulled down. Ultimately, Simpson's representative Rob Shuter told TMZ the final decision on a cover had not been made by the time one had to be provided to Simpson's record label, so the first cover option (of three choices they had) was given. The original cover was ultimately not chosen, and Simpson went with the cover eventually released. The chosen album cover has a casual-looking Simpson "with nothing but a T-shirt on", her hair pulled back and wearing a ring on her right index finger.
Simpson said in an interview to a magazine, "A Public Affair" was an album that is a "fun night" with friends and not her failed marriage to Nick Lachey, although the first single was inspired by the rupture of the couple. The album opens with the first single "A Public Affair" musically, it is a moderate dance-pop groove song with disco influences. It also exhibits elements of pop rock and teen pop genres. The next song "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" is an updated version of Dead or Alive 1980s hit of the same name in the way Rihanna's "S.O.S." is a remake of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love", written by Pete Burns, Wayne Hussey, Mike Percy, Tim Lever & Steve Coy.
The third track of the album, "B.O.Y." is an electro and disco song which features distorted synthesizers emulating sonar pulses, was written by Driscoll, Gagel, Ocasek. The fourth song "If You Were Mine" was tailored for the clubs and recalls Janet Jackson's "When I Think of You". "Walkin' 'Round in a Circle", the album's fifth track, is another song co-written by Simpson for the album. The song has a touch of Euro disco love song with new wave influences. The sixth track, "The Lover in Me" it is a mid-tempo pop song, contains instruments such as piano and guitar. The seventh track, "Swing with Me" a new rendition of Benny Goodman's 1938 classic "Sing, Sing, Sing". "Push Your Tush" the eighth track is a Euro disco song with disco influences. It relies heavily on a sample of the Ohio Players 1976 hit "Who'd She Coo?" "Back to You" track number nine, is a pop song with an urban influence, the song is one of the ballads on the album. "Between You & I" is the solecismic title of longest song on the album. "I Don't Want to Care" is another ballad about love, this time utilizing a piano. "Fired Up", the song title came from something one of Simpson's best friends, CaCee Cobb, always says: "Let's get fired up!". "Let Him Fly" is a cover of Patty Griffin's song of the same name. It is the final track on the album's original pressing. "I Belong to Me" was not included in the original pressing of the album, however, released as a Walmart bonus track. In September 2006, Simpson's label decided to release future pressings with "I Belong to Me" as a regular track. It was released as the album's second and final single.
"A Public Affair" was released as the album's lead single on June 29, 2006. The song received mixed reviews from critics, with many criticizing its close similarity with "Holiday". The song also channeled Janet Jackson with its "breathy vocals, cheery, almost sickeningly sweet melody", and "mid-song giggle". The music video was shot on June 23, 2006 and the late evening of June 24, 2006 at the Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale, California. It features appearances by Christina Applegate, Christina Milian, Eva Longoria, Maria Menounos, Andy Dick and Ryan Seacrest. On July 19, Simpson visited Total Request Live to world premiere the video. In the chart Billboard Hot Videoclip Tracks peaked at the number 5. The single debuted at number thirty-nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, Simpson's second highest debut after "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". It had previously debuted at number twenty on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which represents the twenty-five singles below the Hot 100's number 100 position that have not yet appeared on the Hot 100. Digital download sales were moderate until the release of the single's music video. In late July "A Public Affair" joined Ashlee Simpson's song "Invisible" in the top ten on the US iTunes Store's list of most popular songs, the first time in iTunes history that two siblings had different songs in the top ten. The song peaked in its fifth week on the Hot 100.
When the first official single was released, fans expected the official follow-up single to be club track "Fired Up". Weeks later, in an MTV interview, Simpson stated that "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" might be the second single from the album and that she would like to tour after three or four songs had been released from the record. However, on August 9, 2006, Simpson stated on her official website that she wanted her fans to choose the second single from the album; she provided five choices, which were: "If You Were Mine", "The Lover in Me", "I Belong to Me", "B.O.Y." and "I Don't Want to Care".
Simpson stated in a radio interview on August 23, 2006 that the second official single from the album would be "I Belong to Me". The album originally did not include the track "I Belong to Me"; Simpson stated that the track would only be included on a special version of the album sold exclusively in Wal-Mart. The track is also included on the iTunes version of the album. However, less than two weeks after the album's release, Simpson's record company decided to start shipping copies with "I Belong to Me" included; today, the album can be purchased anywhere with the bonus track included. Simpson mentioned that the album would feature a special code with which fans could download the song for free. Many fans wondered why "Fired Up" was not released as a single, as the song had a strong popularity and many plays on YouTube.
Jessica Simpson's version of the "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" was released as a promo single in 2006. Her version of the song barely made the Pop 100, and failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart, however, it charted to no. 20 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100, which is equivalent to no. 120. Simpson's version has new lyrics and only preserves the chorus of the song.
A Public Affair received mixed reviews in the press, including a two-star rating from Rolling Stone. The album was criticized for lack of originality, particularly its similarities to previous Top 40 pop and disco hits from the '70s and '80s, with few contemporary elements. The lead single "A Public Affair" was especially criticized for its similarities to Madonna's "Holiday", Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", and Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove", but was favorably likened to Janet Jackson for its "breathy vocals" and "sweet melody". Bill Lamb from About.com stated: "The final 5 songs of A Public Affair are worth hearing for Jessica Simpson fans. I just hope fans can maintain their interest long enough to get there." Several songs on the album were considered "Janet Jackson-like," with "If You Were Mine" described as combining "the lyrics of "If" with the backing track from "When I Think of You". Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine regarded Simpson's work with Jackson's producers as unexpected, saying "Ironically, though, the tracks on A Public Affair produced by Janet's longtime collaborators, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, aren't dance-pop at all; the duo's three contributions are, surprisingly, country-inspired."
For his part, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic said A Public Affair achievement achieve excellent sound, than any previous studio album of the singer. He noted that A Public Affair album is a party atmosphere, pure and simple. In eight of the thirteen songs of album you can enjoy a good adrenaline at the time of hearing, either on a dance floor or a carefree sunny afternoons. Additionally, the musical editor Lizzie Ennever of BBC website said that A Public Affair sounds like something you can put in a children's party I was having a disco-dancing competition. The album seems to be engraved on a roller coaster. In sum, the editor said that the only salvageable song disc was "BOY", since he could reach the height of Britney Spears. Chris Willman of Entertainment Weekly described the album as a compilation of songs from the 80s, played by Simpson, dantoles one C as final grade.
The album debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200, selling over 101,000 copies in its first week. Although it first marked highest sales week of her career, the total sales of the album ended up being disappointing, and the album itself ended up being a commercial flop. A Public Affair shipped 500,000 units in the United States but has barely sold just 300,000 to date according to Nielsen SoundScan and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In Canada, the album debuted at number six, marking Simpson's highest position on the Canadian Albums Chart and was later certified Gold for 50,000 copies sold. A Public Affair also reached the top forty in Japan, Ireland and Australia, in the latter country peaking lower than In This Skin which reached number thirteem and was certified Platinum. To date, the album has sold one million copies worldwide.Sample credits
"A Public Affair" contains a sample from the composition "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" as performed by Diana Ross and written by Ashford & Simpson, the latter who were acredited.
"You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" samples "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)", written by Pete Burns, Steve Coy and Mike Percy and performed by Dead or Alive.
"B.O.Y." samples the opening guitar riff of The Cars' "Just What I Needed"
"Walkin' 'Round in a Circle" contains interpolations from the composition "Dreams" as performed by Fleetwood Mac and written by Stevie Nicks.
"Swing with Me" contains samples from the composition "Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)" performed and written by Louis Prima.
"Push Your Tush" contains elements of the Ohio Players 1976 hit "Who'd She Coo?"
Credits for A Public Affair adapted from AllMusic.